Saturday, April 19, 2014

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

          “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Those words have an edge to them. There is a rebuke in them. Truly the women, who came to the tomb of Jesus, were looking for someone who was dead, not someone who was alive. Think about them on that first Easter morning. Because they did not have enough time to properly prepare Jesus’ dead body for burial on the first Good Friday, these women had purchased spices with which to finish the task once the Sabbath ended. So early on Sunday morning, the women got up and, carrying the spices they had purchased, set out for the tomb. As they walked, they began to talk about the stone that had been placed in front of the tomb and sealed with Pilate’s own seal. They wondered who would take it away.
          When they arrived, they found the tomb open. With great grief they looked into the tomb. Then to their great surprise, an angel greeted them and asked them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” In other words, “Why do you act as though the Savior were still dead?” The words contained a rebuke, a rebuke for their lack of faith, a rebuke for living as though Jesus were still dead.
          We too deserve this rebuke. Like those women, we carry around needless burdens. We often carry around needless burdens of guilt and shame because of our sins. We act as though Jesus were still dead and, therefore, we are still in our sins.
          Like the women, we worry and fret about things when we really have nothing to worry about. The women fretted about the stone and who would roll it away. How often don’t we worry about the ‘stones’ that stand in our way? We live as though Jesus were still dead.
          The women came to the cemetery with great grief. They came expecting to find a dead body. We too often stand in the cemetery and think only of the deaths of those we love and of our own deaths that are to come. We act as though Jesus were still dead.
          Why do you look for the living among the dead? When he sees us bearing needless burdens, fretting and worrying our way through life, grieving over loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and when he sees us letting sin get a foothold in our lives, the Lord asks us too through his angel, “Why do you live as though I were still dead?” We have a risen Lord! Jesus, who was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised again for our justification. We have a risen Lord who has broken the power of the grave so that we can look forward to rising from the dead with our loved ones one day. We have a risen Lord who gives us the power to say “no” to sin. Let’s not live as though Jesus were dead; we have a risen Lord.